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C64-Gamevideoarchive 281 - Little Computer People

Video from the C64 game "Little Computer People".
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General Description

This deed gives you official permanent title to the research software
"house-on-a-disk" accompanying this software. You, the undersigned,
agree to maintain said house and its occupant according to the
instructions put forth below. Congratulations on your new house!

There really are little people living inside your computer. And one of
them is waiting for you to give him a home...and be his friend.

He will talk to you and play with you and live a very happy life, as
long as you take care of him.

This Discovery Kit contains a house for one Little Computer People.
Try it. See who moves in. You will discover a whole new world of
computer fun and friendship.


How to Play


How to Start

Follow the on-screen directions to begin the game.

Letter of Introduction

Dear Fellow Researcher,

We're happy to welcome you to the Activision Little Computer People
Research Group.

As you may have read, we suspected for quite some time that there was
something living inside most computers. But we didn't know who, what,
or how many there were.

After years of research, hard work, and creative speculation, we
invented what finally became the turning point in this arduous
investigation: the "House-On-A-Disk".

When our first Little Computer Person so tentatively entered his new
"home", it was an experience beyond explanation. You'll soon see what
we mean.

From that moment on, we have been collecting volumes of information on
the Little Computer People: what their personal habits are, what they
like, what they don't like.

We now believe that every single computer has its own Little Computer
Person. And that every Little Computer Person is unique in appearance
and personality. This is why we have opened this research project up
to all interested computer owners.

We also have strong evidence indicating that there are actually
several Little Computer People in every computer. But it seems that
only one will reside in any given home. So, if you find you enjoy
caring for and observing your first Little Computer Person, you may
want to sign up to study others your computer may hold.

The preceding guide is a compilation of what's currently known about
providing for the little person inside your computer. Use this guide
as an outline. But remember, please, to experiment on your own.

There are many questions that are still unanswered. And only through
the support and cooperation of people like yourself will we ever be
able to fully understand our newfound friends.


David Crane and Sam Nelson For the Activision Little Computer Person
Research Group

Making Contact

Every time you follow the procedure outlined in this section of the
guide, you will begin a new research session with your Little Computer

In your first session, you will be required to enter your name, the
date and time for your research files.

In all subsequent sessions, you will only be asked to enter the date
and time.

Entering Your Name

The first thing to appear on the screen is your research notebook. You
will be asked (in your first session only) to log your name into the
project files. (To later change the name, see Changing the
Researcher's Name below.)

Using the keyboard, type your name (first name first) in the spaces
provided on the screen

Entering the Date

The format for entering the date is MM/DD/YY, where MM stands for the
month, DD stands for the day, and YY stands for the year. Be sure to
enter the numeric digit for each space. Use zeros in front of numbers
less than ten.

For example, if you start a session on January 1st, 1986, type: 01 01
86, then press RETURN.

Entering Time

The format for entering time is HH/MM, where HH stands for the hour
and MM stands for the minute. As in Entering the Date, above, use
zeros in front of numbers less than 10. Type A for AM, P for PM.

Twelve o'clock midnight should be entered: 12 00 A, noon should be
entered as: 12 00 P.

Moving In

If this is your first research session, your house will be empty when
it appears on the screen. Based on our findings to date, most Little
Computer People are quite shy and will not readily rush into a new
situation. In fact, it may take several minutes before they actually
muster the courage to step inside the new home you're providing for

On the other hand, Little Computer People have also been found to be
quite loyal. Once they have moved in, you can expect them to be in
their new home on subsequent sessions. In fact, we've never seen one
move out yet.

When a Little Computer Person enters a house for the first time, we've
found that he will usually inspect the new home for anywhere from 5 to
10 minutes. Then he usually leaves to retrieve his belongings. Yours
will probably return shortly with his suitcase. Most Little Computer
People also bring their dog. If yours doesn't, contact us.


Care and Feeding of Your Little Computer Person

- or -

How to Make Sure the Person Inside Your Computer is Healthy, Happy,
and Totally at Home.

Although Little Computer People are basically quite independent, once
they move into their new home they are, in a sense, living in your
world. So they will need your help in certain areas.

To insure that your Little Computer Person is healthy, see that he
always has food and water. (The dog also needs food.) Both hunger and
dehydration can make Little Computer People sick. They generally turn
green and just lie in bed when they are sick.

Also, because they tend to be quite active, they should not be allowed
to sleep too much. They would much rather have your attention.

Caring for Physical Needs

Hold the CONTROL key down and press the designated letter to care for
your Little Computer Person's physical needs.

[CTRL] F - Food is delivered to his front door.
[CTRL] W - Fills the water tank. Each time you press
[CTRL] W, approximately one glass of water
is added to the water tank.
[CTRL] A - Rings the alarm clock.
[CTRL] D - Leaves dog food at the front door. Your
Little Computer Person will do the rest.

Caring for Emotional Needs

Addressing the physical needs of your Little Computer Person is
relatively easy. To know if he needs food or water, you simply look to
see if his supply is running low.

Addressing emotional needs, however, takes much more sensitivity and
careful study. First of all, you must be aware of his different moods.
So far, we've discovered four distinct moods in the Little Computer

He's probably getting plenty of attention.

He's fine but could be better. Try a Mood Booster.

Needs Mood Boosting immediately

:-( [Green]
This happens when he has gone without food and water
for a long time.

Mood Boosters

There are several ways to elevate the mood of your Little Computer
Person. Studies indicate that some ways are more effective than others,
, and new techniques are constantly being reviewed and discovered.
Please record your own discoveries.

[CTRL] C - A phone call. Many Little Computer People
enjoy receiving phone calls - unless they
are constantly interrupted to the point of
irritation. We have not yet deciphered
their spoken language, nor discovered with
whom they chat.
[CTRL] P - Physical contact (or "Petting"). We haven't
found one yet who doesn't respond to this
instantly. Note: in order to pet your Little
Computer Person, he must be sitting in his
easy chair in the living room. To call him
to the chair, press [CTRL] P and he will
know you want to pet him.
[CTRL] R - Leaves a record for his stereo at the front
[CTRL] B - Leaves a book at the front door for him.
Note: Records and books elevate your Little
Computer Persons spirits only for mild cases
of the blues.

Playing Games - this is one of their favorite pastimes, so it
naturally makes them feel great. See Playing Games for details.

Recreation and Relaxation

Most Little Computer People are very good at entertaining themselves.
They're good pianists and can play compositions from Bach to Boogie
Woogie. They also like their record collections. In fact, albums make
great gifts for them.

We've noticed that some Little Computer People exercise frequently.
Many seem to enjoy playing with their computers or sitting down in
their easy chairs with the newspaper we've provided. You may even be
able to talk them into building a fire in the fireplace. (See Keyboard
Communication, below.)

Keyboard Communication

We recently found that we can communicate quite extensively with
Little Computer People by typing sentences using the computer keyboard.
These sentences can be in the form of questions, suggestions, or
requests. We use them to evoke a wide range of responses and reactions
from Little Computer People. You can do the same.

Though we are just beginning to scratch the surface, here are a couple
of requests we have tried.

- Please type a letter to me.
- Please build a fire.

Little Computer People are especially responsive to good manners. So
remember to incorporate words like "Please" and "Thank you" into your

Changing Researcher's Name

To change the name of the researcher, type "logon please", and then
press RETURN. Select the program called " Name Changer" by pressing
"1" (one) on the keyboard. Then follow the instructions at the top of
the screen.


Playing Games

As far as we know, almost all Little Computer People like to play
games. Each Little Computer Person has his own individual favorites,
so we've listed a few of the games we've noticed occurring most
frequently, along with simple instructions for playing them.

A Little Computer Person will usually allow you to make the game
selection. He will knock on the glass of your TV or monitor to get
your attention and ask you to select a game from the list at the top
of the screen. Type in the number of the game you want to play.

1. Card War

This is a simple game in which you are each dealt 26 cards from a 52
card deck. (Little Computer People always prefer to deal.)

You both draw the top card from your pile. Your Little Computer Person
will show you his card first. To show your card, press F1 as indicated
by the command menu in the upper right corner of the screen. Whoever
has the higher card wins the hand, and both cards are added to the
winner's stack.

When both cards shown are of equal value, this is called WAR!! At this
point, your Little Computer Person deals out 4 more cards to himself
and 4 more cards to you, face down. He will then turn over his last
card; press F1 to show your last card. Whoever has the higher card
wins the hand, and all of the cards on the table are added to his

If the last cards shown during a WAR! Are of equal value, then your
Little Computer Person continues to deal 4 more cards each until
someone wins the hand using the same rules.

The game is over when one of you has all 52 cards. You can press F7 at
any time if you decide that you want to quit.

2. Anagrams

When you play anagrams with your Little Computer Person, he'll insist
on being the one to think of the word. You'll be the one who
unscrambles it.

A scrambled version of the word he's thinking of appears in big type
on the screen.

You type in what you think is the correct word, and he will tell you
whether your guess is right or wrong. He'll let you guess 8 or 9 times
before he tells you the word.

If you need a hint, press F3, and one letter will assume its correct
place in the scrambled word.

Note: A Little Computer Person will not give you two hints in a row.
You must guess at least once between hints.

Press F1 to quit this game. We have never had a Little Computer Person
quit playing on his own.

3. 5-Card Draw Poker

Standard poker rules apply. As usual, your Little Computer Person will
probably insist on being the dealer. You're just going to have to go
along with it.

You both start out with 200 poker chips, as displayed at the top left
of the screen.

Your number of chips is below his. Bets and raises are limited to 20
chips each.

Press F1 to ANTE UP one poker chip and begin the game.

The Little Computer Person will deal each of you 5 cards (yours are
face up) and ask if you feel lucky. (He is really asking if you want
to bet any chips).

The menu in the upper right corner gives you three choices.

Bet (F1) - Bets one poker chip every time you
press F1.
Enter (F3) - Enters your bet.
Pass/Clear (F5) - Lets you pass when you feel you have
a weak hand and do not want to bet,
or clears your bet if you decide to
bet a different amount.

After you make a bet or pass, the Little Computer Person will either
match your bet or pass.

When the Little Computer Person asks if you want cards, press any
combination of numbers from 1 to 5 on the keyboard to discard the
cards that you don't want. (As examples, to discard the card on the
far left, press 1. To discard the card second from the right, press
4.) Press the number again to make your original card reappear. You
can discard all five cards if you like.

Once you've discarded the cards you don't want, press F1 to draw
replacement cards. Your Little Computer Person deals them to you.

If you want to keep all five of your original cards, press F3 to stay.
You will not be dealt any replacement cards.

Your Little Computer Person then tells you on the screen how many
cards he discards.

You now have the option to make another bet.

At this point, your Little Computer Person may raise his bet and give
you two choices:

See (F1) - Lets you match his bet.
Fold (F3) - Lets you abandon the hand, losing whatever
you've bet so far.

If you opt to See, you'll be given three more choices:

Raise (F1) - Lets you raise the bet even higher.
Enter (F3) - Enters your raise.
Call (F5) - Stops betting for that hand and lays the
cards on the table.

After each hand, you have the option to quit the game (F7).


It would be beneficial for you to create a log book in which to record
your observations. You will quickly start to notice distinct character
traits in your particular Little Computer Person. A detailed record of
these traits is very important to the research project as a whole.

Please keep in mind that your discoveries and insights, like everyone
else's, are critical to an accurate analysis of this important

Researcher's name:
Moving in:
Unusual Activities:
Name of Little Computer Person:
Sleeping Habits:
Overall Health:
Predominant Moods:
Housekeeping Hints:
Musical Ability:
Game Playing Aptitude:
Letter Writing Ability:
Forms of Relaxation:


Key Description

[CTRL] F Food is delivered to the front door.
[CTRL] W Fills the water tank. Each time you press
[CTRL] W, approximately one glass of water
is added to the water tank.
[CTRL] A Rings the alarm clock.
[CTRL] D Leaves dog food at the front door. Your
Little Computer Person will do the rest.
[CTRL] C A phone call. Many Little Computer People
enjoy receiving phone calls - unless they
are constantly interrupted to the point of
irritation. We have not yet deciphered
their spoken language, nor discovered with
whom they chat.
[CTRL] P Physical contact (or "Petting"). We haven't
found one yet who doesn't respond to this
instantly. Note: in order to pet your Little
Computer Person, he must be sitting in his
easy chair in the living room. To call him
to the chair, press [CTRL] P and he will
know you want to pet him.
[CTRL] R Leaves a record for his stereo at the front
[CTRL] B Leaves a book at the front door for him.

You can also use the keyboard to interact directly with your Little
Computer Person. Try commands such as "Please play the piano" or
"Please build a fire." Remember your manners!


The joystick is not used in Little Computer People.


Be sure to pay attention to your Little Computer Person's emotional
needs as well as his physical needs.


Game History

David Crane, Programmer

"The idea for Little Computer People was actually brought to us by an
outside developer. I was interested in the potential of the product
and recommended that we buy it. The original name of the project was
'Pet Person', based on the 'Pet Rock' craze of the 60's."

"When it was brought in-house, the original plan was for it to be more
like a fish-bowl, with no input from the user. I took it in and
rewrote about half of the original program to include the
interactivity that ended up in the final product."

"One interesting facet of the program that most consumers don't get to
appreciate is that it was duplicated in-house. Since we had control
over every disk that went out the door, we gave each copy of the game
its own, unique serial number as it was copied. This serial number was
then used to generate the personality, appearance, and behavior of the
'Little Computer Person' on the disk. Certain factors of the computer
person were determined by this serial number - name, shirt color,
personality traits, and so on. These factors were determined
independently, so although there were probably many serial numbers
that would generate a computer person named 'Tom', the chances that
any two of them wore the same color shirt and liked the same game is
almost nil. Each disk was effectively unique."

Sam Nelson, Producer

"The idea for the sequel to Little Computer People was to have a
Little Computer People apartment complex. In that kind of a scenario,
it would be more interesting to watch the interaction between the
people, study the relationships that form, and so on. And you would be
able to do things in several houses at once, so it would be more
challenging." The reason no such game was ever released was that
"Activision wasn't in the practice of sequelling what we had done
already. So we just played around with it in the office for a little
while and then dropped it on the floor."

On early Activision culture: "At the time, Producers were called
'Creative Development Managers'. They would manage the projects much
as Producers do today. At one point, there was one big room where all
the internal development was done. Steve Cartwright sat in one chair,
David Crane sat in another, Bob Whitehead sat in another, and so on.
So we were on one side of this wall, and on the other side was
marketing, sales, finance, operations, and all the other departments
not directly associated with product development. Only the design
teams and the producers knew what products were being made at any one
time. Once a game was finished, we would give them the final copy and
just say 'OK, here it is'. These other departments would then produce,
market, and sell the game."

Source: Project64

Run time 22:47 min.
Producer The C64-Gamevideoarchive
Audio/Visual sound, color


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